Never downloaded, never used: The deathly rise of the lurking ‘zombie app’

Most apps loiter like decommissioned nuclear reactors on Apple’s servers

Apple’s finger-tapping retail empire, the App Store, is celebrating five years of flogging antagonised avians. But while successful apps have launched everything from TV shows (Draw Something) to board game renaissances (Words with Friends), most apps loiter like decommissioned nuclear reactors on Apple’s servers, never downloaded, never used.

These “zombie apps”, according to research, make up about 600,000 of the 900,000 apps on sale. It’s near impossible to find out which ones have never had any downloads, but The Independent found five of the zombiest apps, with so few downloads that they’ve not got enough data to be reviewed or rated. In the spirit of fairness, we’ve done it for you.             

1. TapDatOrange, 69p

This consists of frantically tapping oranges, ie. “make that orange juice”. The oranges, for some reason, have wigs, hats and lipstick. Like a cross between Fruit Ninja and an outtake from a “Mighty Boosh” fantasy sequence.

2. Fish Encyclopaedia Expert, £1.99

Not – as its name suggests – an app that makes its user an expert about  fish encyclopaedias,  this grim-looking resource combines pictures of fish with information about fish. Or, as its description in the app store gleefully sells it: “A collection where you can find detailed info and great photos about most interesting photography.” Er? 

3. How to Meet Women!! Free

Because nothing screams born-again ladykiller like the double exclamation mark. HTMW!! is  full of advice sure  to coax dozens of unsuspecting women into the lives of iPhone users, eg: “Women tend to be more chatty than men. Use this to your advantage... while she carries the conversations on her own, think of your next move.” Lovely!! 

4. TellMeMyPath, Free

Watch out agents of the NSA, you’ve got competition. This is, according to its creator, “tracking your life”. It tells you where you’ve been and – best of all – how to get home. The likelihood of someone who  can’t find their way home being able to operate a smartphone isn’t mentioned in its spiel.

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